As the 2018-19 FA WSL draws closer, Nancy Frostick previews Manchester City and Bristol City ahead of the new season.
Nick Cushing’s side are not going to be distracted by their noisy neighbours with their focus firmly on winning the top tier. At least that’s the message Keira Walsh, City’s supporter’s player of the year last season, is keen to press as she prepares for the start of the WSL.
City fell away in the title race last term, but that hasn’t dented their confidence in pre-season according to the 21-year-old: “We always have a meeting [at the end of the season]. We talk about what we did well so it’s not all negative and then what we are going to take forward.
“I think everyone is feeling really confident.
“We had a good pre-season with the first team going to Miami so all the girls really enjoyed it and we played some great opposition, so we are really looking forward to the season.”Embed from Getty Images
And what about the threat of their new rivals across the city, Manchester United, who have joined the Women’s Championship?
“I think United having a team is great for the women’s game and this season we will be playing a lot more teams that have just joined the league.
“But if we do end up playing United, then I really would love to play in a derby.”
No doubt women’s football fans across the country will agree, but for this season at least it will be up to a cup draw to produce a Manchester Derby.
It has been a summer of transition at Bristol City having lost key players, signed up new recruits and a change of head coach with Willie Kirk joining Manchester United as Casey Stoney’s assistant. However, even with the arrival of new manager Tanya Oxtoby, the Vixens’ key principles of developing youth and playing attractive football will remain.
The former Birmingham City assistant coach has pushed these ideals at Bristol since her arrival: “Culture is massive. It’s about making sure the environment is right and that all the players feel involved and they are in a position where they want to get better and learn.
“We made a real concerted effort when we recruited to make sure that we not only got great young footballers but we got great people as well.”
What do the new recruits say about the manager’s new philosophy at the club?
“We wanted to recruit with more of a longer term vision and our younger players are definitely a part of that. We want to keep them at the club for two or three seasonsminimum, there’s such exiting talent.
“I really think we are building up and building the right kind of project here. From our perspective it’s about making sure the players understand the philosophy of the playing style but also get results on the way.”
You can follow Nancy on Twitter @NancyFrostick